Vijender Singh’s 12-match winning streak in professional boxing ended when he was beaten handsomely by a younger and taller Russian opponent, Artysh Lopsan, in Goa on Friday.
In the match held on the rooftop of the Majestic Pride Casino ship and dubbed ‘Battle on Ship’, the 26-year-old Lopsan defeated 35-year-old Vijender with a technical knockout verdict in the fifth of the eight-round contest and spoiled the Indian’s return to the ring after more than 15 months.
Vijender – the WBO Oriental super middleweight and WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight champion who turned professional six years ago – fought a professional bout for the first time without the assistance of his regular coach Lee Beard and had prepared for the contest with the support of his former team mate-turned-coach Jai Bhagwan and a bunch of home grown boxers.
The six-foot-four-inch-tall Russian displayed his clean boxing skills to outsmart the seasoned Indian.
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After Lopsan used his long range and initiated attack in the opening round, the contest heated up in the second. As Lopsan continued to raise the tempo, Vijender responded well by using his left jabs and right blows. A solid right on Lopsan’s face resulted in a standing count for the Russian.
Lopsan used his combinations to reply strongly in the third and gained a clear upper hand in the fourth, where a battered Vijender was left gasping for breath and had three counts.
The Russian’s left blow in the fifth round brought Vijender on his knees again and forced the referee to stop the contest after one minute and nine seconds.
This was Lopsan’s fifth win in seven professional fights.
In another fight in the welterweight division, accomplished boxer Neeraj Goyat convincingly defeated Sandeep Kumar when the referee stopped the contest in the fourth and final round.